Robin Trower's 2010 CD reviewed by Andy Snipper at Music-News.com
Trower has been as much a joy to me over the years as he has a trial to many
other critics. Since Bridge of Sighs many of the critics have dumped him
in the bag marked ‘Hendrix copyist’ but this is both unfair and patently untrue
and The Playful Heart – his 31st album either solo, with Procul [sic]
Harum or others – is one of the best things he has ever done.
The guitar playing is soulful and full of blues heart but he has melancholic touches that seem to make the instrument more of a voice than any other guitarist. His vocals seem slightly lighter in tone than they have for a while and the sense of power and confidence that has been lacking for a while is back. Davey Pattison’s vocals elsewhere are excellent and provide a counterpoint to Trower’s. Glenn Letsch (bass) and Pete Thompson (drums) are exactly what Trower needs to bring his music out fully formed.
The songs on this album are definitely among the best he has written and overall he is sounding as good as he has for years.
The title track kicks the album off and the slow, almost
funereal, pace of the opening giving way to a powerful chorus is quintessential
Trower and sets the album up perfectly. The Turning has all the elements
you would associate with Robin Trower, complex blues riff and dream-laden
lyrics, all played with pace and passion and Maybe I Can Be A Friend
proves he can still write a ballad better than anyone with a solo that hits so
deep and strong that it positively resonates your soul. Prince of Shattered
Dreams is full the language of a broken relationship but he manages to avoid
the bitterness in his sound that the words suggest. The rockiest number in the
set is Not Inside – Outside and the band let themselves go with a sense
of enjoyment before the album closer, And We Shall Call it Love, delivers
the listener via a powerful love blues, slow and emotionally dense.
Sadly, this won’t win over those critics who continue to denigrate Robin Trower but his fans and the critics who can see past the trite ‘copyist’ tags will find some of the best work he has ever done here. An album full of his trademarks but also more complete and confident than anything he has done in a while.
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